Approximately 90 minutes long, you’ll explore this unique, 10 square block part of town called the Funk Zone: Santa Barbara’s converted warehouse district now home to wine and beer tasting rooms, art galleries and restaurants. The tour starts at 2pm and ends at 3:30. The tour begins and ends near the Goat Tree restaurant (120 State St) directly across from the Hotel Californian. With 12 stops – including a visit with a local artist – you will learn about the history of this once blue collar/industrial part of town and how it has transitioned over time. Hand-picked 11 x 17 old photographs add to the experience. All tour goers get a chance to win a McConnell’s ice cream and everyone gets the Funk Zone Map; a very handy reference guide to more than 60 restaurants, wineries, brew pubs and art studios in the vicinity. An optional wine tasting voucher can be purchased for just $8 per person — good for a three-taste flight- at Santa Barbara Winery — Santa Barbara’s oldest winery.
The tour is led by either John Ummel, a retired, long-time resident of Santa Barbara or Jessica Shea who hails from upstate New York but now calls Santa Barbara her home.
What You Will Learn
Not only will you learn about the history of this former blue collar, industrial part of town but you will also learn how the Funk Zone has transitioned into a wine tasting, brew pub, and art and restaurant scene today. Topics include but are not limited to:
- History and evolution of the Funk Zone, including proposed developments.
- The Old and New Hotel Californian
- 1925 Earthquake and it’s influence on SB’s Architecture
- The Founding of Lockheed Aircraft
- Art in the Funk Zone
- History of McConnell’s Ice Cream
- SB Winery and how SB Became a Premier Wine Producing Region
- Funk Zone’s Contribution to Surfing
- Santa Barbara’s POW camp during WWII
- Key landmarks: Bekins/Sonos building, old Weber Bread plant, the Lucky Penny, the Lark Restaurant, the Waterline and “Plant 59,” a WWII aircraft manufacturing site.
The tour begins at 2pm and ends at the palm plaza (120 State St) at 3:30 directly across from the Hotel Californian, one block up from Stearns Wharf.
Things to Know
- The tour is free, though tips are very much appreciated (cash only).
- Reservations are not necessary but highly recommended. Use the reservation system to see available dates and secure a spot.
- The tour is limited to a maximum of 10 persons. Two (2) person minimum needed to run the tour.
- The tour will last about 90 minutes and is over level ground. We do walk across train tracks. Seating is generally not available along the tour route and one must be prepared to stand 5-8 minutes in between stops. Most stops are in the shade.
- See the Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.
- Park in the parking garage behind the Hotel Californian. This is literally just steps away from the tour start and end point.
- Park at the Amtrak Station, corner of Yanonali and State St. Short 5 minute walk to and from tour starting point.
- Park at the Visitor Center, 1 Garden Street. Short 5-7 minute walk to and from tour starting point.